I step inside my unit’s office—well, former unit as of this moment, I guess—feeling even more baffled about my sudden placement at this random company I’ve never even heard of. And being back at the place that I actually signed up—and want—to be in makes it all the more depressing.


I can’t even begin to accurately describe just how disappointed I am. And Covington’s little “extra credit” session after the meeting didn’t help one bit, nor offer any actual clarity on the matter. In fact, I think it only confused me more.


Working in a field I’m not remotely interested in is bad enough. But now I have to actually move to the damn place?




That’s a whole ‘nother conversation I’m going to have to have with Michaela.




I can’t believe just how quickly things went left; the tables turning all the way around on me as soon as I finally managed to have a seat at it.


I sink into my desk somberly, feeling glummer than I have in a long time. I was looking forward to protecting sea lions from the dangers of marine pollution, not working for the kind of company that directly causes it.


This is absolutely nuts.


So much for getting punk’d…


And, somehow, the joke’s still on me.


Anger quickly replaces the initial sadness I feel, unable to understand how something like this even happens in an institution as renowned as Earth Capital. I’m not sure if these Zanergy people actually looked at my portfolio or read my resume considering all the rallies I’ve participated in against offshore drilling and similar activities to date.


What’s even more puzzling is that Covington clearly has read my resume, but somehow thinks I’m a good fit, as well.


But then…why wasn’t I given any prior notice?


The more I try to understand it, the more clueless I feel and aggravated I get. I breathe out a deep, heavy, frustrated sigh, ready for the day to be over when it’s barely even begu—


“Psssst,” I hear all of a sudden, the shrill, clearly audible utterance rudely interrupting my thoughts in spite of its supposed attempt to be inconspicuous.


I look over to the bearer of the sound, trying to suppress a groan when I realize it’s my auburn-haired neighbor.


“Oh em gee, I had no idea you were also interested in the Zanergy account!” she coos, wheeling her chair closer. “Why the hell didn’t you say anything before?”


I can barely hold back the exasperated exhale bubbling up in my gut.


Ugh. Just what I need.


Talking about this unexpected debacle is the last thing I feel like doing right now, least of all with her. But apparently, she isn’t as interested in a reply from me as she is simply rambling.


“I can’t believe you scored it,” she continues, ignoring my silence. “Earth Cap’s been gunning for this account for pretty much ever so I was kind of surprised to see you walk up there. Everyone was, really. Of course, you could pretty much tell from everyone’s reaction. You’d have to be blind not to. Actually, even a blind person could. But never mind that. When in tarnation did you apply for it? Are you sure you’re new here?”


I don’t even know what to say to that, my brow arching through a bored disposition because, honestly, it’s all I can manage, and I’m in no mood to pretend or force myself to be polite right now.


But it clearly goes right over her head because she just carries on.


“From all the chitchat I’ve been hearing, it sounds like the final stage of the acquisition was in the works over the last two weeks. It’s been pretty tense around here. Everyone’s been on edge, especially the higher-ups. I get the feeling even they’re still a little surprised that they managed to land the account—considering just how many times Zanergy’s rejected us before.”


She spills all the tea without any prodding, but each new bit of information that leaves her lips only leaves me more and more puzzled.


How in the hell could I have been chosen to be part of the team assigned to the account having only arrived yesterday when this is something that has clearly been in the works for a very long time? With the so-called acquisition being finalized before I even received my acceptance letter?


Unfortunately, Auburn-Hair’s extended rant offers me no more insight than Covington’s one-on-one did, managing only to mentally exhaust me with more questions that neither of us have answers for. At least, none that make the tiniest lick of sense.


The hours leading up to lunch go by in a slothy haze, and I spend every minute of them wishing I could turn down this insane, so-called “opportunity” that’s been practically shoved down my throat. The relocation element just enhances the bitterness of the pill and makes it that much harder to swallow.


Honestly, this whole thing just feels…wrong. Too sudden and unplanned. I’m reasonably flexible but I don’t do well with super-spontaneous, abrupt changes, especially major ones like this.


I don’t think anyone does.


By the time lunch hour rolls around, I have to force myself to start accepting this new, unforeseen reality, even if every last bone in my body resists it. This is not at all how I envisioned my internship going. But sulking isn’t going to do me any good. I know that. At the end of the day, this is a business, and it requires me to be professional and cooperative if I want to continue working here.


 And I have every intention to.


So, that’s precisely what I’ll do: swallow my pride, work my ass off, pay my dues and earn a place and say at Earth Capital so that Covington and everyone else comes to see—and treat—me as a valuable asset and not just some lowly intern that can be displaced at will.


Besides, from the look of things, I don’t really have any other option.



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